Monday, February 06, 2006

Guns and Road Rage Study

No link. Just analysis.

I obviously don't have the study data or most of the questions. Both would have been valuable in clearing up this rather vague and illogical report. But my statements are on just what the report states as method and results.

The first problem, as I have seen mentioned elsewhere, is that the only statistic that they have on guns in the car is whether you had driven in a car where a gun was located.
  • They don't separate whether the gun was owned by the person answering the questions.
  • They don't detail whether the gun was a in the car during the road rage incident.
  • They don't specify what amount of time guns were in the vehicle.
This lapse is made far worse in that they only use the metric of whether the questioned had been in a vehicle with a gun at least once during the past year. This is even further antagonized by the road rage question being four in number, and that any one of these questions appear to qualify the subject in the past 12 months as being involved in road rage.

So One time driving in a car with a gun you may not own, and one obscene gesture at you in a totally different vehicle qualifies as a positive hit on this study.

The contention in the introduction is that 23 states have in the past decade made it easier for people to carry guns in their vehicle. They reference a Rosengarth study which is solely on Concealed Carry. This is completely distortive. They don't separate hunters out of the questions. This will most certainly distort the results heavily due to a vast majority of states allowing residents to openly carry long arms in their vehicles to hunt. This level of distortion of the results should find outrage from the scientific community, not praise as seen in the New Scientist.

The contention in the report also tries to place aggression soley in relationship to the having a gun in the vehicle. Other factors are quite apparent in the study. Being a liberal, living in the Northeast, having a criminal record, being young, driving a lot. But yet the only publicized and forced result is related to having a gun in a car with you at some point during the year.

They also mention that giving a rude gesture is likely to receive one in return. But with that understanding, they should have disqualified at least one of the criteria for road rage. Leaving that criteria in place dilutes the results. A person who has considered everything that they have done driving as polite and safe will still make obscene gestures when receiving one. Just because you receive an obscene gesture doesn't necessarily mean you deserved one.

Toward the end of the report they spout out that they would have hoped that people carrying guns in their cars would be the most self-controlled and law-abiding. Then they admit that they don't know whether any of those questioned had a gun in the vehicle when the road rage incident occurred. So, the contention is that being a gun owner, you wouldn't make an obscene gesture when someone flips you off. An obscene gesture isn't illegal by the way. I'd also generalize in that someone that carries concealed is more likely to have more self-control while carrying. That's not what this study is able to conclude though.

And just to be nasty, Ted Kennedy, by this study, is far more likely to be an aggressive driver than I or anyone I know who owns a gun, is likely to be.

SayUncle had it right. This study is Bullshit.

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